Cheesecake will always hold a special place in my heart. My relationship with the dessert has come a long way, from my picky childhood years when I would scoff at any dessert with cheese, to adulthood, when you can't pry me away. I've grown up and realized the obvious reality that cheesecake belongs in the upper echelons of quintessential comfort foods. Few other desserts can touch the inherent satisfaction of a dense, creamy, tangy cheesecake layered over a buttery layer of graham cracker or cookie. But the one thing that can stand to improve upon this time-tested formula is a thin patina of crackly torched sugar. Obviously. Cheesecake achieves a new level of greatness at Intro, where new chef-in-residence Stephen Gillanders presides over the restaurant's first a la carte menu. This new format serves Gillanders well, exhibiting a refined dexterity throughout the menu. One of the courses where this is most apparent is dessert, as seen in memorable dishes like his cheesecake brûlée.
It seems such an obvious idea for anyone looking to elevate the dessert template; fusing cheesecake and crème brûlée into one seamless confection with the best of both worlds. Here you get the silken divinity of a cheesecake, crowned with a fine layer of crispy caramelized sugar. It helps that Gillanders imbues a mercifully light texture to his cheesecake. Enough air is present to keep things light enough... at least light enough for me to easily polish off the whole plate. The final touch is a dollop of pineapple jam, bursting with juicy tropical flavor. It lends a welcome fruity reprieve from the rest of the dessert. Dab a bit of jam on each forkful before digging in and you've got yourself one of the most well-rounded, well-textured cheesecakes imaginable.